Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Conrad’

He was different; innocent of heart, and full of good will, which nobody wanted, this castaway, that, like a man transplanted into another planet, was separated by an immense space from his past and by an immense ignorance from his future.

― Joseph Conrad, Amy Foster

GC Myers-To Other Worlds

To Other Worlds“- At the West End Gallery

Wow. That’s quite a passage from Joseph Conrad‘s short story, Amy Foster, which was about a shipwrecked emigrant landing in Britain, unable to speak the language. He learns a bit of English and weds a kind local servant girl, Amy Foster, but remains always the outcast, unable to fully express his past or his dreams for the future to anyone around him. His native language is looked upon with suspicion and derision. He dies asking for water in his native language, nobody understanding his request.

I don’t see this new painting, To Other Worlds, in the same tragic light as Conrad’s story but it has that sense of  being in a world that feels completely strange and alien. Maybe it is a world where your language and forms of expression seem odd and untranslatable to those you come across. Your past is, like that described in the Conrad passage, is separated from you by an immense space, forever unknown to those in your present. Your future seems hazy at best as you are unable to plan in world in which you can’t communicate effectively and that you don’t fully understand.

It’s very much the feeling I felt from my early Exiles series. I was still learning to harness the communicative aspects of art and often felt alien in this world. I certainly never felt like I fully understood this place or its people.

I guess that part hasn’t changed significantly. But I have somewhat reconciled my past, present and future with my work. Just being able to communicate with an expression of some sort of inner feeling has made this world seem less strange.

But that feeling of being in a world where one feels out of place in nearly every aspect still sometimes shows up in my work. I think it’s important o hold onto that feeling so that you can recognize it in others and attempt to let them know you see them and understand the landscape they are trying to find their way through.

Okay? Okay.

Here’s this week’s Sunday morning music. It’s Hejira from Joni Mitchell. It fits here in that hejira is a word for a migration, a flight from danger which often places those who flee in the role of the exile, the stranger in a strange land. Joni’s lyrics for this piece, like most of her songs, are wonderful. Certainly feels right for this stranger in this strange land on a gray wet Sunday morning.

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To have his path made clear for him is the aspiration of every human being in our beclouded and tempestuous existence.
–Joseph Conrad
GC Myers- Glimpse and Aspiration sm
In the next week or so I will be featuring several of the new pieces that will be part of my show, Layers, which opens next Friday, July 25th,  at the West End Gallery.  This painting is titled Glimpse and Aspiration and is 24″ by 48″ on birch panel.  It has been a favorite from the moment that it began to take on its own life, midway through the time I was painting it.  Its size gives it a weightiness that fits well with the mood and  glow of the painting.  I find myself looking at it quite often in the studio with a great deal of internal satisfaction at the completeness of it.  It just does something for me.
I see the Red Tree here as a symbol of the aspiration for  a life of purpose and meaning, the desire for one’s own place in the world.  It is not always a clearly defined objective, as Conrad points out in the quote at the top.  Our life’s path winds through other places and lives but once in a great while there is clarity and we fleetingly see that thing which we believe to be our purpose.  Our aspiration.  Just glimpsing it and having it take a tangible form in our mind is fortifying, making our footsteps lighter and our path even more defined.
It is something  which we can hold in our minds to guide and inspire us on the path ahead.
There’s something in this idea  that fills this piece,  making it a very comforting piece for myself.  I am going to very much  miss this painting in my studio when it has went out on its own.  But it has done what it must for me and is destined to hopefully do the same for someone else.
Sending it out into the world is simply part of my purpose, my aspiration.  At least that is how it appeared to me in my brief glimpse.

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